Chapter 3 2

Aftermath (Afternoon Tea)

It’s called whale fall.

When the carcass of a dead whale falls into the abyssal zone of the ocean floor. The extreme pressure and cold temperature slows decomposition and results in the creation of brand new eco-systems. Whole islands of life in unimaginably hostile environments.

Over the course of a couple of hundred years, the eco-system will go through several distinct phases. The soft tissue will sustain large scavengers for months. The resulting organic fragments enrich the surrounding sediment and provide sustenance for mussels, clams and the like for over a year. Finally the chemical reactions from the decay of the organic compounds in the bones provide sulphides for microbial life for decades, until the organic matter is totally and utterly spent.

It would be nice, or convenient, to blame our decline and current situation on some shady government, secret society or mega conglomerate.

Our golden age of technology sired its own contemptible little wars and power struggles. Back then the powers that be had their own little games in their quest for influence, land or wealth. They will be judged to have contributed their fair amount to the downfall. And we could all gain comfort from the fact that it wasn’t really our fault.

But the truth is…

The truth is we’ve ended up here and now through our own collective greed and stupidity.

Today’s governments are simply guiding us home as benevolently as possible. The Relic Pact was signed to make the most of what’s left. To keep us hanging on in the hope that we will somehow be gifted another miracle. And next time we will do it differently.

From a metaphorical point of view. I wonder. Are we the dying whale? Life all used up, but destined to leave something behind so any future generations might have something with which to re-build their existence and endure.

Or are we the microbial life? Slowly surviving on the last of the nutrients. Destined for blackness and nothing.

I believe there will be a next time.